Panasonic Expands Financing For Toughbooks

Panaonic will now offer such financing choices as zero percent leasing for 36 months, step payments, flexible payments and deferral and lease-back programs that can go up to 60 months. All new options will be made available through Panasonic Finance Solutions, the company's two-year-old financing arrangement with CoActiv Capital Partners.

"Given the economic times, with customers moving back and delaying projects, we wanted to come up with some more flexible options and have a number of different programs for the end users as well as the resellers," said Sheila O'Neil, vice president of channel sales for Panasonic Computer Solutions Company.

"With lease-back, for example, if someone were to have purchased something 60 days ago, they could take what they bought, turn it into a lease, get the money back and buy more Toughbook product," she explained. "It does need to be reinvested back into Panasonic product, but it's a great way to do it if they didn't buy what they wanted the first time."

O'Neil said Panasonic has been developing Webinars and offering cheat sheets and other training resources for Panasonic VARs to incorporate the financing options in their sales strategy.

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"The big part of it is getting the projects out the door--helping support end-user projects," O'Neil said. "Of course, there are also opportunities to be more profitable and for [VARs] to increase some of their margin. [VARs] come to a customer with more tools."

Panasonic's solution providers applauded having more options to offer cash-strapped customers.

Datec, a Seattle-based solution provider and Panasonic partner, does much of its Toughbook business in the government space. With capital budgets tightening, said Director of Sales Bob Stein, financing becomes a go-to option for staying current with technology and shifting some of the financial burden from capital budgets to operational budgets.

"Panasonic is being very flexible and aggressive to help resellers like us offer alternative solutions," Stein said. "It's one more solution--one more thing in the trick bag--to either a budgeting issue or a financing issue, and helps customers overcome their financial challenges while staying current."

"For our customers, reliable remote access to information is the difference between success and failure--and failure is not an option," added Rance Poehler, president of Panasonic Computer Solutions, in a statement.